Following an uncharacteristic come-from-behind win, the Falcons are one of the nine undefeated teams through a couple of weeks.
Typically, Atlanta would’ve been the one up 12 points in the fourth quarter, only to allow Green Bay to make an improbable comeback. However, Desmond Ridder flipped the script, leading the Falcons over the Packers with a near-perfect fourth quarter.
The defense deserves an equal amount of credit. Ryan Nielsen’s unit pitched another shutout in the fourth quarter after being the primary catalyst in the Falcons’ season opening win over the Panthers. Week 2 was a total team win, and a lot of national media pundits are beginning to turn their attention to what’s happening in Atlanta.
Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network did a feature on Arthur Smith and his team; Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager has also highlighted the Falcons, praising Bijan Robinson. The club also rose universally across the media’s NFL power rankings. Randy Mueller, who is a very respected name, just did a piece ‘The Atlanta Falcons have the best defense nobody is talking about’ for The Athletic.
Wherever you look, the Falcons are one of the bigger surprises of the 2023 season thus far, but this isn’t all too shocking for fans.
Falcons fans have watched Arthur Smith win 14 games in two years with rosters deprived of talent; rosters that were pieced together with one hand tied behind Terry Fontenot’s back due to financial limitations. Now, the Falcons fielded a competitive team this offseason after ridding their books of the salary cap mess inherited from the former regime.
Fans were rewarded for their patience on the first day of free agency, inking Jessie Bates III, David Onyemata, and Kaden Elliss to long-term deals. Over the course of the next couple of months, the Falcons would go on to add Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree, Bijan Robinson, Matthew Bergeron, and others.
It had the makings of being a turning point in Arthur Smith’s tenure. Falcons fans finally had a defense to be excited about, and if Desmond Ridder could just keep the train on the tracks, fans were confident in the offense’s weapons.
After being ridiculed for thinking their team was a playoff contender, they’re being vindicated by national outlets telling the NFL world the same thing — this Falcons team is for real. Fans all over the country may be surprised to learn that, but Atlanta natives are handing out a cold dish of “I told you so” early in the 2023 campaign.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire